If you need help debt consolidation or have an idea about getting out of debt then the Australian Government has many programs designed to help you. The Department of Education and Workplace Relations is the lead agency for assisting students in paying their debts. Incentive schemes are available that can give up to half the balance of your loan at regular intervals. There are also free financial counselling services you can use. The Department of Family Services is responsible for ensuring that all welfare rates and benefits are up to date.
One such service is the Tuition Fees Assistance Scheme (TMA). This is a unique scheme that is set up for low income families to help them meet the cost of their higher education. For a family who meets the eligibility criteria, they are eligible to apply for up to half of their combined loan limit. One advantage to this is that you do not have to pay any up front fees or interest until after you receive your education. It does not count if you are self qualified or not, so you can apply to multiple institutions.
There are two ways to apply for this incentive scheme. The first is to directly contact the Australian government and ask for assistance. You will need your bank account number and date of birth to qualify. The second option is to contact the Australian government by using a submission program on their website. There is a limited database of approved submissions.
If you are a student you are able to claim tax relief as long as you meet certain requirements. The first requirement is that you must be enrolled full time at an Australian university or college. You will need to complete a tax return for each year that you attend an educational institution. You must not claim for tax relief under any other circumstances such as a business trip. Student loan indexation starts from the month you begin your education and continues for the entire year.
To calculate the level of student debt assistance, you can use the Tax Office’s online calculator. The calculator works out how much you will have to pay back based on the level of income you are earning. This is calculated as the compulsory repayment threshold (CRths) plus the rate of interest you are paying on your student loan. The calculator can also work out an alternative payment if your income is lower than the compulsory repayment threshold.
After you complete your tax return, you should request the authorities to stop paying tax on your behalf. This stops the income earned from the voluntary repayments being taxed. This works out best for students as they are still liable to make contributions to the repayment scheme. Once you have stopped making contributions, you will have completed the voluntary repayment threshold.
At this point in time, you are eligible for the maximum amount of assistance to reduce or eliminate student debt. If you do not want to repay the interest on the loan, you could get a lump sum paid to you by the Department for Social Development (DSD). The money you get can then be used to start paying off your outstanding debts including those already paid off. You will not lose any of your assets and will be left with only the interest you were paying on the loan. However, the total cost of the debt could get substantially higher.
Students living away from their homes and in remote areas can apply for the same debt assistance programs as those living in more urban areas. With the indexation measures, the total cost of your debt could go up if you do not stop making payments. However, there are measures that you can take to ensure that the amount of assistance you qualify for covers the total value of your debt.